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Making Stainless trim

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by carbuilder, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. carbuilder
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 982


    I have been approached to make stainless trim for a fiberglass kit car. The new owner wants to replace the old crome comming off plastic trim with stainless. I realize the car is not real H.A.M.B. friendly but I thought how to make custom stainless trim that was not just straight might be a good challange plus H.A.M.B. friendley any ideas or thoughts. Here is the car in mind the new women owner wants to upgrade a few other things also to make it easer for her to drive.










    Looking at the fender trim you can see it varies in width on the front & rear fenders & the doors.
  2. john worden
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,806

    john worden
    from iowa

    Look at Metalmeet and Metalshapers sites for molding fab techniques
  3. wally55
    Joined: Jan 25, 2009
    Posts: 98


    Look at Lazze metal have a few videos and some guidance.Good luck
  4. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 3,100


    have you considered making them out of brass and having them chromed? stainless is durable and stays bright easier, but it can be a bitch to shape.
    BTW if somebody could do over the rear end of that car and ditch those RV taillights for something classier, it'd do wonders... just saying.

  5. PackardWood
    Joined: Aug 13, 2012
    Posts: 485

    from JoCo, NC

    Did the lady who bought it REALLY seem to HATE Dalmatians by any chance?
    bengeltiger likes this.
  6. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 6,135

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Buy the book by Cass Nawrocki. He goes into how to make one off trim and such. Often he makes his own tooling, and add ons to his machinery to do it though. Looks kind of complicated and time consuming. But it can be done! Stainless is harder to work with that regular steel, but at least you dont' have to get it chromed, in the end. But if you do it in steel and chrome it, you have another chance of perfecting minor issues before the final plating (soldering or block sanding the copper).
    If you've ever seen Terry Cook's Zephyr sedan delivery, it has all hand made trim on it. A guy in Plainfield NJ did it. It was in steel, and cost him (IIRC) about 12 K for the trim, then another 6K for the plating. the guy in question DOES have some serious sheet metal tools, Yoder, etc.
    Good luck!
  7. 51Gringo
    Joined: Jul 22, 2006
    Posts: 652

    from Nor Cal

    I too, would suggest brass and plating.
  8. :D LOL.

    That´s not a bad looking kit, but they really dropped the ball with the back lights. Maybe you could talk her into fixing them.
  9. 19-c
    Joined: Jun 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,097


    this trim is going to cost more than the whole car is worth
  10. carbuilder
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 982


    The over all look to the owner is great just the plastic trim is getting tacky, the gas pedal is in a akward position compared to the break pedal (not parallel) & on warm days over 75 it runs hot so that is why the side slots will be opened up & a stainless mesh screen with trim made to go over it. I also if possible need to up grade to power brakes (booster tightness issues with hood sides). This is not a high dollar redo just trying to help a friend out on a reasonable budget.
  11. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 6,135

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I didn't know it was a kit car, didn't look that close. You really can't do anything from scratch and be economical.
    If you really want to do stainless, I think the most reasonable cost would be to buy "half round"stainless rod, and bend it to fit. If you really want to keep the arrowheads, I think I'd make a carving of one, to match the size of the half-round, so you could weld it to it later, and make a female mold out of bondo in a box, from the male carving.
    Use a hydralic press to stamp your own thin guage stainless sheet into the arrowheads. Trim and weld to the half-round.
    Ain't going to be cheap, but it's probably less than even doing them out of steel or brass and plating them. That stainless is kind of costly. by itself!
  12. carbuilder
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 982


    Making it out of steel or brass then chroming is not in the budget. 24 gauge stainless is not super expensive just trying to figure out how to roll the edges over and keep it clean & yes the spears are part of the accents. I just ordered some 24 gauge stainless & will experiment on different ways to fold it over more to come.
  13. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,742

    Ned Ludd

    The idea of "de-faking" a kit-car is one I go back to from time to time, i.e. ripping out the donor-car content and replacing it with something more technologically appropriate, with a degree of hot-rod shift built in. I narrowly passed on the opportunity to do that with a VW-based MG TD replica a few years ago.
  14. nofin
    Joined: Jan 7, 2010
    Posts: 321

    from australia

    This should work. Make a paper template of the existing trim, easiest if you do it with the trim on the car. Mark out your shape then add about 1/4" all around to form the lip on the back. Use a bead roller with a round profile (about 1/16" radius) into a rubber wheel to tip the edge to 90 degrees (may have to put it through more than once to gradually work to 90). You might have to cut the lip off at the tips of the spears to avoid creasing and allow access for the bead roller. If you need some crown in the trim then at this stage bump it in on a sand bag. I wouldn't use a hammer directly onto the stainless, use a strip of rubber and hit onto it with a wide wooden punch (grind off any sharp edges), the rubber should stop the punch from putting creases into the stainless. Then carefully bump the lip over using a nylon mallet on a sandbag or similar. Don't try to go all the way down in one go, work your way along both edges from one end to the other gradually bumping it further down with each pass. By taking it down gradually you can trim any parts of the lip you think necessary to avoid them touching or for fitment. Last thing would be to put in the curves/twists to match the panel. Again do this gradually by bending around formers, constantly checking the fitment. Take it slowly and you can undo mistakes as you go.
  15. Metalman Sweden
    Joined: Aug 22, 2012
    Posts: 4

    Metalman Sweden
    from Sweden

    Danny, cheapest and quickest way to do this ones would sure be to cut them out of alu and then sand and buff them....many many Italian classics have trims of alu and.....they cost alot more than most hotrods ;-)

    just a my opinion to get bling for low buck :)

    // Per
  16. nothing to add about the trim, but a set of '36 ford taillights and stands would work good on those fenders.
  17. carbuilder
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 982


    nofin that is about the way I was thinking of approaching it & if I cant get to work then probley the aluminum stock would be next. Ok guys I appreate all the Ideas for back up & tail lights ect but none of that is being change. I do not want to even try and match the color this thing was built in 1989 & there is not any chipping in the finish no rock chips or cracks so any thing I do I have to be careful. This is just a fun driver and not in for a major rebuild.
  18. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    Stance and tire/wheel combo is the biggest "pass or fail" of any car and they missed it by a long shot on that car. Before I did anything, I'd get the wheels inside the fenders and get it dropped down. IMO, the trim on the fenders just needs to go away.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  19. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 515

    mike in tucson
    from Tucson

    Why not have the trim PAINTED on? Fake trim for a fake car....actually, there have been some recent cars with painted trim that looked pretty decent (the trim)
  20. nickleone
    Joined: Jun 14, 2007
    Posts: 433


  21. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,409


  22. TexasDart
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 853


    Why not just get the plastic pieces chromed. Get rid of the peel & stick chrome and just chrome the plastic. The car does need a's actually kind of cool looking just needs some customizing.
  23. carbuilder
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 982


    When driven then parked this car draws people like flys to molassas. It will get a slight make over so the new owner has it more personlized for her. The peels & stick plastic chrome wont recrome. I plan on doing a little experimenting when the stainless flat stock gets here.
  24. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478


    you could make it out of brass and have that chromed.
  25. onlyonthurs62
    Joined: May 18, 2011
    Posts: 117


  26. carbuilder
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 982


    Making out of steel or brass then plating is just to costly at the present time.
  27. gonmad
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,761


    I know it's kind of cheezy, but sand off the "chrome" and bodywork the existing plastic stuff and "chrome paint" it. That would be by far the easiest and cheapest route IMO.
    Just my .02¢

    Oh, and ditch the yellow walls! LOL

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  28. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,348


    Plating can be expensive. Alternatively, you could cut them from stainless, weld studs, and polish.

    Aluminum would work, too, but would dull and oxidize over time.

    And fix those taillights... seems a shame they would spend that much time designing a car and then stick on something that looks like it came from a Harbor Freight trailer..... 32-34 Ford on stainless arms would look better or perhaps 37 Ford bullets.
  29. Cerberus
    Joined: May 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,392


    Have you thought about using the existing trim to make a female mold and then melt silver and pour into the mold. Silver is about $30 oz. Melts at 961*. 99 + % silver buffs to a nice shine and doesn't tarnish. The germans used a lot of silver trim in the 20-30's.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  30. dad-bud
    Joined: Aug 22, 2009
    Posts: 3,884


    If $$$ down is the key to your customer, gonmad's idea of sand and spray chrome seems like a good one - that ought to leave enough cash left to have at those taillights - just a suggestion.

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